Jim Marshall

My only iPhone portrait; and the last photo of Jim ever made; March 14, 2010 / © Tom Zimberoff / All Rights Reserved

It wasn’t the first time a brash photographer clashed with security at a rock concert, stopped from going backstage without a pass. Jim Marshall, a fierce competitor who would elbow you out of his way to make a picture, was lashing out with his equally sharp and ill-tempered tongue at the bouncers blocking his way. It’s remarkable how, so many times, he escaped the consequences of his demeanor. To some he was prickly. To others he was a prick. …


with a SaaS-enabled, Data-driven Marketplace

The Business of Photography is Broken


Have photographs lost their economic value? One might make that case by connecting the dots, starting with the consolidation of photo agencies, then the transition from film to digital image capture, followed by the conjunction of crowd-sourcing with the World Wide Web and social media, which ultimately led to underserved publishers (particularly those looking for stock photos) and the sorry circumstances that challenge photographers who try to earn a living today. The good news is that photography (both still & video) remains vital to every aspect of commerce. Business needs photography. Its demand is both enduring and universal. Living, breathing…


The Art of the Chopper

Holy Roller by Mike Brown / photograph ©2006 Tom Zimberoff

Imagine motorcycles unlike any others you’ve seen before; ornate mechanical confections; Fabergé eggs with engines, exquisite but hard-boiled — and big; resplendent in the variety of their design and spectacular enough to be arrayed on pedestals in a museum. In fact, they were.

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

I was in Mike’s Camera, a Mill Valley, California emporium that caters as much to people who appreciate shooting film as to digital enthusiasts. A young woman, about college age, came in with a disposable film camera for processing. At the counter she was asked if she wanted her film scanned, to have images emailed directly from the lab. It’s an optional service, sort of a twenty-first century contact sheet to augment the real deal. “Of course,” she said; but she said it like, What the hell else would I want? When advised that it was routine for customers to…

Would Marshall McLuhan Say the MEDIA is the Message?

Animated illustration © 2018 The Estate of Corinne & Marshall McLuhan. / Text ©2018 Tom Zimberoff

One can only surmise what Marshall McLuhan might have had to say about social media. I wish he could tell us if he’d make the same distinction I do between the words media and medium, with regard for how they’re used today contextually. I’m not trying to split hairs. I’m not the philosopher. But I detect a difference.

McLuhan is, of course, the man who famously said, “The medium is the message.” He also said, “[the medium] is not neutral,” and, “if you don’t understand the medium, you don’t understand the message.” He implied that the means of delivering information…

Adding Up to Zero

“Spike” by Shinya Kimura / Photograph ©2008 Tom Zimberoff


The Art of Memorializing Personal Encounters

©2018 Tom Zimberoff

“Portrait photography is ten percent talent and ninety percent moving furniture.”

Arnold Newman

We don’t load cameras much anymore, but we still aim them and shoot pictures. With that in mind I get a bang out of describing my pursuit of portraits as a predatory sport, hunting big game: the famous and the fascinating. I try to get close enough for a good clean shot — close, as in rapport, not mere proximity — to avoid inflicting gratuitous wounds like a paparazzo. …

Tom Zimberoff


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